If there are a couple of things which annoy me very intensely in the year 6 A.O. (Anno Obama) – besides petty rudeness and vandalism which are loudly proclaimed to be anti-LBGTYWTF, racist or anti-Islam and then later (often within days or hours) admitted to have been perpetrated by the so-called victim in hopes of tapping into that sweet, sweet overflowing spring of sympathy and righteous affirmation … really, my default position after reading the breathless headlines about one of these incidents is setting a mental over-under of how many days it will take for the ostensible victim to be proven comprehensively to be an attention-seeking drama queen.
Oh, and the other couple of things which annoy me intensely – two phrases, apparently beloved of activists who want to be seen as involved and deeply concerned activists without doing anything in particular about their chosen cause: the first is “raising awareness of (fill in the blank)” and “starting a conversation about (fill in the blank).” If there are any more trite and hackneyed justifications for doing something demonstrably thoughtless and annoying, I’d like to know about them so I can be warned and take evasive action. Yes; “Think of the children” and “If it saves just one life” are already on my event horizon of trite and hackneyed justifications for being a prize self-glorifying and ultimately expensive pain in the *ss.
All these phrases are basically cheap grace, a flamboyant gesture and a signaling flag. They are a way of seeming to do something without actually doing something; permitting the “deeply concerned activist” to preen before their peers without actually breaking a sweat. Because – and this is the supremely annoying part – in the main, we are already aware of most of the major problems afflicting us. The extreme smugness of assuming that we are not has become as annoying as it is arrogant and condescending. Homelessness in our inner cities? Starvation in Africa? There’s strife in Iran, hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain … well, actually, we don’t, but California does. Forgive me; I just had a Merry Minuet flashback. Look, we already know about all these, all of us who have a social awareness above the level of a mollusk, the attention span slightly longer than a fruit fly, and a concern for our immediate communities. In the long run, is all that we can realistically concern ourselves with anyway. We already know; so quit shouting about social causes like carnival barkers trying to attract our attention to the Bearded Something or Other, or the Amazing Boneless Wonder. (Ooops … sorry establishment RINOS, but you know who I meant.)
Start a dialog? Why, bless your heart! Among those possessing social awareness above the level of the average mollusk, and an attention span slightly longer than a fruit fly, et cetera – we already know what that means. “Dialog” most often means “You shut up while we lecture you at length.” And most usually, that necessary dialog has already been happening for some time, between family, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, club members, bloggers and commenters, co-workers and interested passing strangers. That dialog just hasn’t been happening at the command of, or along the lines desired by those demanding that the dialog be started. Likely this is what annoys them so; that the dialog has already been underway for a good long time.
Any other trite and overused phrases in circulation which annoy the heck out of you? Please discuss.
(Cross-posted at www.ncobrief.com)